ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. has released the third version of his mock draft for the 2015 draft season(E$PN IN$IDER). His first two projections had the Washington Redskins taking Nebraska OLB Randy Gregory, and he still mentions that Gregory is an option at this spot. Gregory's fallen down some draft boards following the Combine, after a lower than expected weigh-in and he goes to the Bears at #7 here. But Missouri DE/OLB Shane Ray also dropped from #3 overall to #5 largely due to the rise of Florida OLB Dante Fowler, Jr from #13 to #3. Shane Ray has been on the Redskins radar all offseason, and he is considered one of the top prospects in this draft. Ray didn't work out at the Combine, but will at his Pro Day on March 19th.
Kiper also mentions the possibility that everyone seems to want to happen, trading down from the 5th overall spot to acquire more picks. In this mock, Marcus Mariota is still available and ends up going 6th overall to the New York Jets. The Philadelphia Eagles(Ducks?) are reportedly going all in on Mariota at some point before or during the draft because Chip Kelly wants his former QB and has the power in the organization to make the deal happen. You can read a new report daily about how far they are willing to go up in the draft(1st, 2nd) and how much they are willing to give up(entire draft, multiple 1st rounders, players). Ken Meringolo wrote about the possibility of making a deal with the devil yesterday and what players and picks could possibly be coming to the Redskins if it happened.
Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri
Analysis: For the record, Ray can or should also be listed as an OLB. The Redskins have needs all over the secondary, but there just isn't value to be found at this pick slot at either cornerback or safety. And the quickest way to improve a secondary without making wholesale changes back there is to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If the board breaks this way the Redskins could go with Ray or Randy Gregory and feel they're getting more productivity in the pass rush in 2015. Let's not forget this is another possible trade-up spot for a team that would want to get Marcus Mariota before the Jets have a chance to take him at No. 6, and given the many needs and missed picks of recent years, the Redskins might be smart to move down.
Here is Kiper's explanations for selecting Randy Gregory in his previous mocks:
Kiper's Mock Draft 1.0 Reasoning:
Gregory is the type of pass-rushing talent that can transcend systems. Long, athletic and highly explosive coming off the edge, he's a little undersized as a classic 4-3 defensive end and could play in space a little better as a 3-4 outside linebacker. But he can flat out cause disruption -- not just as a pass-rusher, mind you, because he'll also play with good leverage against the run and make plays in the backfield. Washington should be purely in the "take a great football player" category, and Gregory fits the bill and can make them better as a rookie.
Kiper's Mock Draft 2.0 Reasoning:
Gregory -- a freak athlete who brings scheme versatility, the ability to disrupt in the passing game and hold up a lot better than many realize against the run -- would be a fit for any team drafting in the top five, because you just can't beat the upside as a disruptive force on defense. I also like Shane Ray here if he drops, and this is a spot where teams looking at Marcus Mariota could move, but if they stay put and don't have interest in Mariota, Gregory makes a lot of sense.